North East hot prospect Bradley Saunders will make his long awaited return to ring action on 20th July at Wembley Arena. The 27 year old undefeated light welterweight from County Durham has been out of action since last November due to a hand injury that later required corrective surgery.
The recently named opponent due to face Saunders in the six round contest is tough Irishman Micheal Kelly from Dundalk. The 38 year old is a former Military Games World champion and has featured in two title fights at light welterweight already, the last unsuccessful challenge was in May this year and the previous was in 2010 to undefeated British and Commonwealth champion Frankie Gavin.
Saunders’ coach Peter Cope agreed “Kelly has fought for titles and never gets knocked out. He’s only ever been stopped once and that was against Frankie Gavin for the Irish light-welterweight title.”
The long hiatus and subsequent rehabilitation has been difficult for the former Olympian but the road to recovery will be complete if the hand and confidence can hold up next Saturday in London.
“It’s been frustrating at times being out for so long but I’m feeling good now, the hand’s feeling strong. I had a bone graft from my hip and fused my hand together, so now it’s one solid bone instead of lots of little bones.”
The left hand of Saunders was injured midway during a classy points win in his first eight round contest against seasoned pro Peter McDonagh in Manchester’s MEN Arena. The fight was shown live on Sky Sports sandwiched between David Price’s 2nd round KO over Matt Skelton and England cricketer turned boxer, Andrew Flintoff’s debut.
Saunders fought an exceptionally brave and skilful fight against a heavily experienced and highly ranked opponent. The display elevated the North East boxing star up the rankings and to a higher level in many fans and critics views with Steve Bunce stating “I now rate Bradley Saunders as the best of the under 10′s (fights)”.
Saunders will now be eyeing a title shot later this year if all goes to plan and can remain injury free.
“After 20th July show in London I’m wanting to rally off another two fights this year with one up north and look at title shots as soon as I can.”
Trainer Peter Cope is also confident of winning silverware in the near future.
“I don’t think it will be long before we see Bradley fighting for a championship but given he’s been out seven months he needs a good contest to get back into the groove.”
The London show Behind Enemy Lines features Britain’s bad boy Dereck Chisora against unbeaten American Malik Scott in an exciting heavyweight showdown.
The action-packed undercard also features North Londoner Billy Joe Saunders challenging for Gary O’Sullivan’s WBO International Middleweight title and both their very respectable unbeaten records on the line.
IBF Intercontinental Super-Bantamweight Champion Carl Frampton from Belfast, currently 16 fights undefeated will not be defending his title against Argentinian Fabian Orozco at Wembley Arena on 20th July as originally planned after Orozco was knocked out in his last fight just days ago and can no longer compete for 30 days under strict professional rules.
Instead another opponent has been named as Everth Briceno (35-8-2). The 35 year old Argentinian has 26 KO’s on his record and has previously fought for the WBO Super Flyweight Title.
One of Britain’s most exciting young prospects, unbeaten Ellesmere Port’s Paul Butler who also holds the British and Commonwealth titles, challenges for the Vacant WBO Intercontinental Super-Flyweight title just one month after defeating Najah Ali at Liverpool Olympia on Friday 28th June in what was the Baby Faced Assassin’s fourth consecutive knockout win.
London’s super-middleweight star Frank Buglioni looks to continue his unbeaten star rise and features in an eight round contest as he targets his first title shot. The hard-hitting 24-year-old made it six KO’s out of eight fights with his third round KO of Darren McKenna last time out at Wembley Arena.
The rest of the exciting undercard features unbeaten light-heavyweight and 2010 Commonwealth Games Champion Calum Johnson from Boston; undefeated lightweight Billy Morgan from East London; Southern Area Welterweight Champion Bradley Skeete; Former Southern Area Light-Middleweight Champion Steve O’Meara; Wembley Light-Welterweight Gary Corcoran; Harrow Weald Super-Featherweight Mitchell Smith; Chingford’s unbeaten Tom Baker and Bowers Gifford John Dignum clash over four rounds at middleweight; plus Islington super-featherweight Joey Taylor.
Behind Enemy Lines will be live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).
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